Kia NiroSTATUS: Unchanged for 2020 - The automaker's gasoline-electric hybrid was joined by a plug-in version for the 2018 model year, providing a maximum electric-only range of 26 miles. During the design of the compact hatchback/wagon, Kia says the focus was on trimming weight. The tactics included an aluminum hood, liftgate and suspension parts, lighter seat frames and a lithium-ion polymer battery pack. Even the brake pedal is made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. The powertrain's 104-horsepower four-cylinder engine is mated to a 43-horsepower electric motor and produces a net 139 horsepower. Unlike hybrids such as the Toyota Prius that uses a continuously variable transmission, the Niro has a six-speed automatic with manual-shift capabilities. The Niro's options list contains a range of collision-avoiding alerts and interventions.
Base price (incl. destination): $24,500; $29,550 (plug-in)
Type: Compact wagon
Engine (h.p.): 1.6-liter I-4 with electric motor (139, combined)
Transmission: Six-speed automated manual
Base mpg (city/highway/combined): 52/49/50 (base hybrid)
Base weight (lb.): 3,110